Lead Discovery Center GmbH Announces Five-year Strategic Partnership with Merck Serono

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Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) a renowned translational research organization, today announced a five-year strategic partnership with Merck Serono, Darmstadt, Germany, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. This collaboration integrates the expertise and resources of both organizations to expedite the discovery of promising lead structures and to optimize the development of therapeutic candidates in areas of high unmet medical need.

Under the terms of this agreement, Merck Serono and LDC will enter into a broader drug discovery collaboration aiming to identify lead candidates to multiple drug targets. Merck Serono hereby expands a successful initial collaboration with LDC in oncology into a strategic partnership spanning across all of Merck Serono’s core research and development areas. The first project under the new agreement will be in immunology and emerged from an ongoing collaboration of LDC with the Max-Planck researcher and Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert Huber.

“Merck Serono is a recognized leader in drug discovery and development with a strong research base in Germany and shares our rigorous approach to pursuing the most promising lead candidates,” said Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director of LDC. “We are excited to extend our collaboration with Merck Serono into a strategic alliance combining our complementary expertise to translate academic research into promising drug candidates at an accelerated rate, and with a greater chance of therapeutic success.”
“This partnership is a key element of our strategy to access alliances with leading partners to enhance our pipeline of novel targets and drug candidates,” said Dr. Susan Jane Herbert, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development and Strategy at Merck Serono. “We are confident that the combination of LDC’s strong academic network and high innovation potential in chemical optimization and screening, combined with the drug development and clinical trial expertise of Merck Serono, has the potential to accelerate our joint development of new therapies in areas of high unmet medical needs.”

Both organizations will contribute expertise, infrastructure and resources to identify lead candidates and will work closely together in interdisciplinary project teams to advance them into pharmaceutical leads. More specifically, LDC will drive the design, screening and synthesis of compounds during discovery phases, while Merck Serono will provide extended in vitro and in vivo pharmacological profiling, scale up, pre-clinical and pharmacokinetics as well as clinical study design expertise. Merck Serono will be responsible for drug development and commercialization for selected drug candidates. Under the terms of the agreement, LDC will receive research funding, and for selected drug candidates, milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.


LDC Dortmund

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need.